16 May 2011

Black bean, corn & mango salad

Do you have a go-to recipe that you've been making for years, one that you throw together whenever you need a simple party dish that you know that your guests will love? This black bean, corn and mango salad, adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light about a decade ago, is mine. I've made it for countless picnics, BBQs and house parties and passed on the recipe to many friends, who have made it their own as well. Whenever mangoes start coming into season, I eagerly anticipate occasions to make this salad, which is simple, tasty, beautifully colorful and always appreciated by everyone.

The original recipe calls for canned black beans, which are really difficult to find at a reasonable price here in Paris (I refuse to pay 5-6 euros for a can of beans!). I do have a couple of sources though (which I will consider revealing to fellow black bean-loving Parisians if you send me an email), and I will use canned black beans if they happen to be in stock at these spots. Otherwise, I use red beans or cook dried black beans if time and advance planning allow (they rarely do!).

This salad is great on its own or as a salsa to be scooped up with tortilla chips. I've also used it on tacos or in burritos or even in omelets. Friends also report that it makes a great accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken. The possibilities are endless, as are the potential ingredient substitutions. Use red or any other beans that you fancy in place of the black ones. Switch mango with chunks of pineapple, peaches or nectarines, if that's what you find at the market. Any color of bell pepper can stand in for the red ones. I prefer roasted bell peppers for the rich color and sweet taste, but raw ones are just fine too.

If you make this salad, it might just become a part of your regular party rotation as well. Enjoy!

Serves 8
Adapted from Cooking Light

Nonstick cooking spray or 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
3 cups corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 roasted or fresh red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1 large, ripe mango, chopped
Juice of one lime
3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 green chili, chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1. Spray a large nonstick pan with cooking spray or heat the oil in the pan. Add the corn (undrained if from a can) and stir well. Pan-roast until the corn begins to blacken in spots, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that it doesn't stick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. While the corn is cooking, mix the beans, bell pepper, onion and mango in a large salad bowl.

3. Once the corn has cooled down to room temperature, add it to the bowl.

4. Add the lime juice, cilantro, salt, cumin and chili and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste.


  1. I love this! The colors are so vibrant and the recipe is very simple. Black bean, corn and mango is also such a delicious combo. I am definitely bookmarking this recipe!

  2. Very colorful salad indeed! It has mangoes in it! What's not to like? I remember you making this long time ago. - Mom

  3. Oh my does this look so colorful!

  4. Ramya-I used to make this salad a lot for catering, but without the mango. We called it Fiesta salad. Still love it, and yours is so colorful, and delicious!
    I'm inspired by the addition of the mangos, which is almost ripe on our
    mango tree:DDD

  5. A very colourful salad! It's truly delicious and healthy...Nice twist adding mangoes...

  6. All of these colors are beautiful! They look like precious gems in a lovely bowl!

  7. Ramya,

    Very good receipe. Just wondering why not cook raw black beans, instead of canned ones. You can always say, substitue one for the other. Let us do our part in getting to healthier world!! - Dad

  8. Wow who can resist this colorful bowl of salad ...and liked the addition of mango here...very healthy...

    Hamaree Rasoi

  9. Absolutely delicious combo ~ I could eat that whole thing! :)
    US Masala

  10. I don't like beans much but with that sweet corn .. it will be awsm without a doubt..

  11. Sounds great! So fresh, colorful, and healthy!

  12. that just looks plain wonderful..must try!

  13. This is my kind of salad. I, too, have a few recipes I turn to when receiving dinner guests. A carrot salad and a corn salad top my list.

  14. What a beautiful play on colors and flavors! I'm visiting from The Culinary Lens picnic and I'm so glad you posted this. (Wish I could send you some black beans from Oklahoma -- we have an abundance, and they're one of my favorites, too!)